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Ticket to success: How to upskill your way through workplace hierarchies

Here are some of the key ways you can progress onwards and upward in your career. Picture Shutterstock
Here are some of the key ways you can progress onwards and upward in your career. Picture Shutterstock

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A few things are certain in life, such as taxes, chores and having to work. Most of us need to earn a living unless we're raising kids, studying or having children. It makes sense to pull your weight in life, support your family, and pay taxes for essential services and infrastructure.

There are as many career pathways as there are types of people in the world, from hospitality to cybersecurity, education, accounting, art and everything in between. Some people treat their job as a means to an end and find fulfilment in hobbies and recreational pursuits. Other people have rich and rewarding careers in their chosen fields. Some folks will study, such as obtaining an MBA online or further postgraduate qualifications, while other people will work right out of high school.

Whatever your circumstances, if you've got ambition and a goal to work your way up the workplace hierarchy, you're probably wondering how to go about this. Lucky for you, this helpful article is going to share some of the key ways you can progress onwards and upward in your career, no matter your field. Continue reading to learn more.

Further study

For many people, engaging in further formal study by obtaining additional qualifications is a great way to learn more, upskill and find higher-paying jobs. For instance, a Master in Business Administration, or MBA, is the gold standard qualification for those in white-collar roles. Studying for an MBA will cover all types of business administration skills and knowledge, including marketing, strategy, finance, business analysis and more.

If you're not in an office or business-based role, there are still probably equivalent postgraduate qualifications you can obtain, such as a master's in your chosen field. Again, such qualifications are a great way to progress your career. It's a proven fact that those with higher qualifications earn more and can progress up the hierarchy quicker than those without.

The valuable skills and knowledge you gain through further study can give you a standout edge in the already competitive job market. You will demonstrate to potential employers that you're worth it. Even if you're already employed, some businesses will give you time off to study as it will benefit their bottom line. By engaging in further study, you're demonstrating your commitment to learning and self-improvement, which will impress most managers.


If you don't have the time to dedicate to a formal, years-long qualification, there are alternatives to help you upskill. For instance, there is a new phenomenon that has emerged in recent years called microlearning. Often based online or via applications, this is a new way of learning that condenses valuable skills and knowledge into bite-sized chunks that you can learn in stages over some time.

There is even research to suggest that learning small pieces of information over time has benefits for long-term memory and skills development, so this could be a vital strategy that you can engage in to progress your career. It will also demonstrate your tenacity, willingness to learn and ambition to your employer, who might take notice and reward you with a promotion or increased responsibilities.

Act in senior roles

Another way you can upskill while working is to volunteer for higher duties or acting roles. For instance, if your manager is taking an extended period of leave, ask if you can act in their role and cover their duties while they're away. This will give you a short-term but highly valuable period of experience where you will discover how their role operates. You'll get all the responsibilities of their role, get invited to higher-level meetings, and get essential exposure to their duties without having to commit to a permanent management role.

This way, you'll get a sense of what it is like to work higher up the chain, and you can also demonstrate to upper management that you have the skills, experience and willingness to perform a management role. In addition to this, it's excellent for your CV, as you can list your period of higher duties as workplace experience. So even if you apply for a job elsewhere, if you don't have luck progressing your career at the current company, you can translate the experience to a senior role at a competitor or an entire other sector.

Flag your intentions with your manager

If you have a positive relationship with your immediate supervisor at work, it's worth mentioning to them that you want to progress your career within the company. A performance review is a great time to mention this, especially if you receive glowing feedback. A good manager will want to see their junior staff progress, develop their careers and climb the ranks.

They might even sit down with you and sketch out a pathway to a promotion, outlining some goals to work towards or some areas of professional development for you to work towards. For instance, they could identify a few key development areas that you can focus on to develop the necessary skills and experience to gun for a promotion. This is a great way you can upskill at work if your supervisor is open to the progress. If you don't have the best relationship with them, this brings us to our next point.

Find a mentor

Those looking to climb the hierarchy at their workplace should find a mentor, either within the company or externally, who can provide some critical career advice and guidance. A mentor is often a senior leader in your chosen field who can find the time to meet with you, offer you some insights into their career pathway, and dole out some nuggets of wisdom that you can utilise to upskill.

Mentors find this role rewarding and often had mentors themselves when they were younger. Finding a committed, senior and friendly mentor can be an excellent way to upskill and climb the ladder within the context of your career.

Stay connected to your sector

Part of climbing the ladder at work and progressing up the hierarchy of your chosen field is to stay connected with the latest sector news. For instance, you might follow sector leaders and influences on professional social media such as LinkedIn or subscribe to sector publications like blogs or magazines. By staying across sector news, trends and personalities, you can leverage this current knowledge to progress your career.

A career climbing conclusion

This helpful article has shared some key ways you can upskill, continuously learn and climb the hierarchy at your workplace, and snare that plum promotion or work your way up to senior roles. Follow these tips to grow, learn and progress your way up the ladder at work.